Comics Should Be Good links to my old Pitchfork essay on THRILL-POWER, a term I use a lot without ever having managed to give a good summary of what I mean by it. (“Earthlet, if you have to ask, you’ll never know”)

This awesome comment however perfectly indicates why there’s still some way to go before the Dictators of Zrag are fully purged from the US market: “Call me crazy but I’ll take a “story” over a “thrill” any day.”

In terms of current comics discourse, here’s where I think thrill-power fits in: there’s a divide between “grown-up” (for which largely read: adolescent and post-adolescent) comics and “all-ages” material, and a lot of people lamenting the fact that the market isn’t set up in a way that allows the latter to sell very much.

Thrill-power is the giant scorpion in the room, reminding us that what kids are given to read and what kids want to read are very different. It’s the inner 11-year-old boy of comics howling to be let out, the imitation Freddy Krueger glove, the secret alternate version of Amazing Spiderman 583 in which Obama fist-punches a hole through the Chameleon’s stomach and splatters the press corps with gore. It’s Jack Kirby, sure, but it’s also Rob Liefeld – the mad structureless free-for-all of early Image titles, a new superteam every 3 pages….which was also the post-60s commercial peak for comics. It’s audacious and stupid and disposable, except somehow it never quite gets disposed of, it lodges in your mind like pop songs and old TV shows, a glorious flaw in the diamond of the adult you who wants your comics to have “stories”.